Police offer 5 safe zones for internet sales
Substations install cameras; Dayton also has locations.
Central Ohioans COLUMBUS — who sell old iPhones, video games and other items on the Internet now have a safer haven to make the exchange.
Columbus has set up “internet exchange zones” outside five police substations around the city. The city’s Department of Public Safety posted signs and installed cameras to monitor the zones this year.
“The police have always put out information that if you’re going to conduct that type of transaction, do it in a public place where other people can witness it and you feel safe,” said Cathy Collins, assistant director in the Department of Public Safety. “This is the first actual program by the city to provide a safe space.”
Police agencies in southwest Ohio have been operating safe exchange zones with four Dayton police stations since 2015, and also at the West Carrollton police headquarters and at the Butler County Sheriff ’s Office.
Officers are not stationed at the substations at all times, but Collins said it’s more likely that people making exchanges there would see an officer or a police cruiser than if they were meeting elsewhere.
The cameras are always on, though, and will be trained on the area near the sign. Collins said the city is recommending people who use the zones make the exchange close to the sign because it will be well-lit and in the line of sight for the camera.
The department decided to install the cameras and create the exchange zones in response to an uptick in robberies involving Internet purchases, she said.
Collins said it was the first time that the city had considered setting up areas where people could make exchanges.